WiFi / WiMAX


Wireless Fidelity is a norm that has been created by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to replace its equivalent in the physical and logical layer of the standard Ethernet (IEEE 802.3) for a technology, which allows wireless connection in reduced spaces. The WiFi standard has been defined in the IEEE 802.11 norm and it was created as a technology of quick deployment, oriented to connect mobile and wireless devices, reducing the complications that the use of wires represents. Its area of application is of local networks, reaching maximum distances of 150 meters, average. 

Currently, there are 5 versions of the norm, which are: IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11a and  IEEE 802.11ac (WiFi 5G) with speeds of 11 Mbps, 54 Mbps, 300 Mbps, 54 Mbps and 1 Gbps respectively. The last version, IEEE 802.11ac, has been approved in January 2014, so it has not been deployed world-wide, yet. 

When a shared and not guided medium is used, it is important to take into account the security of the information ( security techniques like WEP, WPA, WPA2, IPsec and MAC filtering must be deployed). Moreover, each implementation in particular must be analyzed to be able to identify sources of interference, obstacles in the transmission, expected clients and authentication schemes. The WiFi Alliance association is in charge of ensuring the compatibility of all the certified devices. 


Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) is a technology based on the standard IEEE 802.16, which has been designed as last mile technology and can be used in access links, MAN links and WAN links. WiMAX allows to offer Broadband Access Services anywhere, anytime. This technology provides a scheme in which other technologies can be transported, such as IP, TDM, T1/E1, ATM, Frame Relay and voice, which makes it suitable for both big corporate networks and ISPs envionments that require wireless links. WiMAX implements different levels of quality of service and different channels of communication in each radio link, allowing the establishment of communications without direct vision between the antennas (NLoS).

The WiMAX technology reaches distances of up to 50 km and works similarly as WiFi (with more capacity for users). It also supports major distances. It adds typical functions of a cellular network, such as antennas in towers with great coverage and WiMAX receptors, which can group several devices or collocate directly on them making it an incorporable technology used as access network or return network. 

It is important to highlight that the standard WiMAX was not designed to compete with the WiFi standard. Both of them can complement each other. For example, a WiMAX connection could interconnect two WiFi networks which are located in different places as part of an integral solution of connectivity. 

More information at: http://standards.ieee.org/ and http://www.wimaxforum.org



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